The day Ray Zahab quit smoking, was a day that changed his life completely.

In 1999, Zahab, a resident of nearby Chelsea, was a long way from being the ultra-marathon and adventure runner that he is today. He dabbled in sports and outdoor activities, but they would all end with a cigarette at the car. He smoked up to a pack a day for around 15 years.

Finally on New Year’s Eve 1999, he smoked his last cigarette and changed his life in ways that he could have never predicted.

“Quitting smoking led to some amazing things happening to me,” Zahab said yesterday.

In the 10 years since he quit, Zahab has become a champion ultra-marathon runner. He’s run across the Sahara Desert and founded an educational adventure company called Impossible2Possible that has enabled him to run to the South Pole and most recently, through the desert in Tunisia.

Now he’s helping others stop smoking and “Smober Up,” in which he is hosting a 10-episode series that follows eight ordinary Canadians as they deal with quitting smoking. The campaign also features a contest where people can submit their own videos sharing their reasons to quit.

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